When first discovered Bird Island probably had few land birds and R W Coppinger, who visited in 1882, stated categorically that there were none. By 1907 John Fryer, as part of the Percy Sladen Trust expedition to the Indian Ocean, found that Madagascar Fodies and Barred Ground Doves had arrived on Bird Island, and Desmond … More Bird Island’s land birds – natural or out of place?
When Bird Island was first discovered by Europeans in the 1770s, it was described as being covered by “innumerable” birds and later visitors reaffirmed this, also mentioning scant vegetation. The discoverers did not name the birds they found but Sooty Terns were likely to have been the most numerous species. Other species, mainly ground nesting … More Bird Island is not just for Sooty Terns!
The Sooty Tern breeding season is progressing well. Laying began exceptionally early this year, with the first eggs being recorded around 10 May. This proved to be a false alarm, however, as the birds departed, only to return later when laying recommenced around 25 May – still early by normal standards but closer to the … More Bird Island’s Sooty Terns 2019
Between May and September Bird Island, Seychelles, hosts the world’s largest Sooty Tern colony that is readily accessible to tourists (there are a few larger breeding colonies of Sooty Terns in the Indian and Pacific Oceans but they are on islands that are not open to tourists). The approximate half a million pairs that breed … More New visitor facilities on Bird Island
On 27 May we boarded a Twin Otter at Seychelles International Airport’s domestic terminal for the scheduled flight to Bird Island. There was little wind – the south-east trade winds have not yet really set in – and the blue sky had a few light clouds drifting slowly across. In his pre-amble the captain said … More A stormy welcome to Bird Island
Towards the end of this year’s stay on Bird Island I was able to photograph a Sooty Tern in the colony with unusual (compared with the vast majority of birds in the colony) plumage. Instead of having a clear-cut line between the white forehead and black cap on the head, this bird had a gradation … More A young Sooty Tern makes an early return?
As the Sooty Terns nesting season began early this year, hatching of the eggs also began earlier than usual. By the time we left after our first visit to Bird Island this year, on 26 June, hatching of the earliest-laid eggs had just begun. We returned to the island on 5 July to find that … More Bird Island’s 2018 Sooty Tern big hatch is under way
There can be few who are unaware of the ubiquitous problems faced by the world’s oceans as more and more tonnes of plastic contaminants enter them. A wide variety of plastic bottles, sheeting, fishing waste (buoys, line, fish aggregating devices [see my blog of 13 June 2017]) polystyrene packaging, flip-flops and other shoes, wash up … More A perplexing problem of plastic in Bird Island’s Sooty Tern colony
Welcome to Bird Island! This morning, 19 June, we found our first Sooty Tern chicks in the colony – three of them among the several hundreds of thousand eggs still to hatch. Sooty Terns incubate their eggs for 28 days, meaning that these eggs must have been laid on 22 May. We had been told … More Happy birthday!
Part of our work on Bird Island involves walking slowly through the Sooty Tern colony looking for birds that we have ringed in the past, some as long ago as 1972. It is not an easy task. It involves long periods of intense concentration and patience while being subjected to attacks to our heads and … More Return of an old friend